Son has asked to go to detox


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we have been trying be supportive to our son 22 who moved back home in march. He has been depressed and sleeps most days, often staying out all night. We both called his bluff a few days ago, telling him we aren't seeing progress but regression since he has moved in despite some good steps forward... ie applying to Art School and paying the deposit. He hasn't been as moody as in the past but we are both worried.

Two days ago he left to house sit for a friend, saying he had to move out... that we are making it harder for him, he feels being home is making it worse. I had to agree with him. I didn't know how he would afford living on his own.... but I knew I had to let him make his own decisions.

He called me today crying. He never cries. He said he has to go to detox or rehab. (We have been asking him to do this for years, but he would claim addiction is made up and people make crappy choices... etc...)

He kept saying he was sorry for all he has done to us. I told him I was happy to hear this and proud of him. I told him he was brave.

He won't come home today to see us right now as he says he doesn't want to cry anymore . The detox only receives people Mon-Fri. We don't even know if they have any available beds. I am taking Monday off so I can help him navigate.... not sure what will happen but he assures me he is going for help.



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Monday is a holiday...will it be open? I only mention this because our daughter starts intensive outpatient treatment on Tuesday. Her place is closed on Monday because of Memorial Day.

Good luck to both of you. Ksm


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What a good, good decision by your son, Colleen. It is interesting to me that he needed to be away from your house to either make the decision or feel able to communicate it or follow through. This breakthrough of emotion perhaps is what he has been guarding against by sleeping all the time and withdrawal. All in all, great news, Colleen.


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We are Canadian so Monday isn't a holiday here.

I spoke with rhe detox in a neighbouring city and she told me both are full, he will have to go on a waiting list. Private programs are ridiculous...25000 for a three month program. We don't know if we can do that.

Because he is 22 he isn't on any insurance. We would have to get a loan. And our younger son is going back to school too. I feel like a bad mother for waivering on the money part. We would have to get a loan.


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Same boat...tried to get my 16yo into a 28 day residential program...$9,600 a month.

Our IOT we are starting next week...3 hours each meeting, 3 times a week. We have to drive 100 miles each trip, and a $30 copay each time. 24 total visits.

Ugghh... Ksm


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I just did a cursory search which revealed that such private programs are not regulated in any way. True or not, I do not know.

In the States there are public programs and non profit, private programs. Your son has been living independently and in the USA an argument could be made that he is financially independent of your support thus would qualify for subsidized programs but as I write this I remember that there are long delays. A non profit program might be religiously based, but not necessarily so. Here programs like Synanon or Victory Outreach would take anybody, I think. Or Goodwill or St. Vincent De Paul or Salvation Army are names that come to mind. I do not know about what is in Canada. I would be very cautious about spending that quantity of money. Throwing money at this is not a guaranteed solution. Considering the potential for relapse and if it is true, that many for profit options exist largely to take advantage of parents in our situation.

Detox can be supervised on an outpatient basis by a physician specializing in addiction. Or if son is in school, does he have insurance through them? Could he enroll with this manifest purpose to get help through them. Or can he get health care by paying extra? In the USA this is the case, frequently. His old university would know of resources, possibly. Is it worth a call?

I have been looking online at work study options for residential ashrams, mediation centers, etcetera. spiritual retreats that offer the option of living there, free classes and counsel, healthy environments. What about thinking about phases. First, detox and 12 step programs. Then, changed environment and re-education in a program such as this which would be very low cost.
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He finally came home yesterday and told me more. I guess he is using Valium.... and he knows he needs detox to come off it. I had no idea.... he says he used it to sleep.

I feel like I'm a fool for not seeing there was always more to the story.

He went back out last night... saying until he gets into detox he can't just stop taking them. He has been drinking daily also he says.

My husband had to leave on a business trip and I feel so scared facing this all alone this week. My principal told me to take as many days as I had to... but I have so many kids in crisis at school too that I feel badly. I know my priority is my son.... and I know it's ok, but I do feel guilty.

I'm going to call detox in the am ... I have been told they are full, so I will also call my family doctor and see what they can do. He is saying he won't do a private program. He seems to think he can do a detox and then just get on with his life.... I know it doesn't work that way. He says he has been doing some kind of drugs for almost five years.... it is going to take a long time to learn how to be drug free... and he is doing he whole " I won't give up alcohol and weed" thing.... ugh!!!!!!

I am so exhausted and I know this journey is just beginning .....


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THis is tough.... he had to call the intake for detox himself. I contacted my family doctor but she said there is nothing she can do as he has to call. He is so out of it this am, but I did manage to get him to call the intake and leave a message. He was to list all drugs and symptoms. It was not fun to listen to.

Alcohol, cocaine, speed, benzos. He didn't even list weed as he doesn't think it's a drug.

He said he has to take them daily or he goes into withdrawal.

I am off for the next three days to try and get him into something. I honestly don't know how I will function at work. They have called my three times this am already as I have so many high needs cases and it's almost exam time / class scheduling and scholarships applications are all due. I'm feeling overwhealmed.

I don't know how long we will wait to get him into detox. He has to use until then or the withdrawal could kill him. How is this ok??? How can they not have emergency beds. This is so frustrating. We play Russian roulette until a bed opens up. Socialized healthcare is good, and I do believe in it, however we have some serious deficits especially in addictions and mental health. I am willing to pay for private but he is saying no.

I honestly feel so stupid. How could I have not seen how bad it was...... I knew it wasn't good but I think I wanted to believe he could be ok. He has never admitted it was this bad before so maybe it's a start. I just feel so raw and scared and alone.


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I feel so scared facing this all alone this week.
I'm feeling overwhealmed.
Anybody would.
He has to use until then or the withdrawal could kill him. How is this ok???
It is not only the responsibility (and lack) of the health system, it is your son's.
I know my priority is my son
Most definitely it is not your primary responsibility. He is his own responsibility.
until he gets into detox he can't just stop taking them.
What about supervised withdrawal by a physician who specializes in addiction? This kind of specialist is not uncommon. He could be at home and monitored by the physician and an auxiliary therapist. This could happen now.

It seems like the way he is defining the situation right now is that his continued illegal and dangerous use of all of these substances is sanctioned by the necessity to wait for a bed to open up. This is not true. He is using this circumstance as an excuse. I do not buy it. If I was in your situation I would try to think of a response for right now. I would not let him continue in your house using all of these drugs, with the excuse, nobody will help me. There is supervised withdrawal by a physician. I would insist he call the doctor right now as a condition of his staying in your house. I would hold his feet to the fire.

(Of course we all know how paralyzed I feel by my own circumstances. How afraid. How sad. I am not saying this is easy, or what I say is right. I am giving you my honest sense of what one course of action could be. How I wish I could be. Maybe that.)

My sense is that our sons are playing us and milking the situation, dominating us. We deserve love, respect and protection. Your son owes you that. I understand that our sons do not love themselves right now, but allowing their worst natures to run us, does not help. I am speaking to myself here.

Colleen with all of my heart I hope you go to work. You love it and it defines so much of who you are and your hopes for yourself. Do not put this important thing to the side. More than ever you are called to protect and take a stand for yourself. Me too. Do not fall into the destructive cycle that I have allowed. Take care.


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I've called the doctor...we don't have any kind of withdrawal that is under doctors care except in the detox... which is currently full.

I live in a poor province of Canada and we have a small population but the care for addictions is lacking. We basically have a few beds and nothing else.

I called nearby cities but they are all full also and can only take people from their communities.

It feels like a dead end with waiting as our only option. It's not ok. Once someone asks for help it should be available.


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Dont feel stupid, or at least not any moreso than me. I had no idea how much my daughter used until she quit and told me. My daughter detoxed from meth,cocaine, speed and other things without rehab. But she never took benzos. That is one drug that requires medical supervision. Maybe Going North will show up to explain.

When you said your son slept all day but was up sll night, well, my daughter did this too. I knew your son was on drugs, but you were not ready to hear it yet ..very common. I did not ever dream my daughter took so much. And would not hear that she did more than pot until we caught her, which devestated us.

I agree with finding outpatient services to help son cut down, although not sure that can include benzos. It is a good sign that your son is asking for help. Your son is afraid of withdrawals. Thats normal. They are from uncomfortable to making one very ill, like throwing up a lot.

This is actually a big step on your sons part in going in the right direction. Much love and luck. You both deserve it!


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First of all it's fantastic that your son is asking for detox! That's a HUGE step! 2nd, don't feel bad or stupid for not knowing the extent of his addiction. I don't think any of us really know at first, I sure didn't. I thought my son was smoking weed and I was so mad about that, little did I know it was much, much worse - heroin. It's such a shame there aren't any rehabs for him to get into right away. Maybe you can search church sponsored programs? My son is completely sober and his life is healthy and happy now after he attended a program called Victory Outreach. I've heard they're nationwide. Best of luck and many prayers for you and your son!


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I feel your frustration Colleen. I was not able to help my son when he asked for help either. I live in the states, but the poorest state so the situation here is dire. I have a very good in-network insurance policy, but there are no facilities here that have beds. Any private program would cost me more than I'm willing to spend seeing as how I have a daughter who will need help launching into school or skill soon. And my son will need plenty of practical help if he ever decides to change, such as loans for cars or school. I have to keep all this in perspective. And I have a very intense desire to retire at some point in my life. Don't feel bad. I did, but while waiting for me to figure everything out, my son did everything he could to continue his vices. It was made clear from people in the industry that he needs to be the one to call and he only called a couple of places. And he made those calls while high. Never could get him to do anything sober.

I don't know much about detox, but I know several people in the industry said if he was using that variety of drugs (he had the same list when he talked to the one rehab that rejected him), then he was probably not addicted to any one of them. And not many of them require actual medical detox. Heroin and benzos definitely though. Sorry I don't have advice but sometimes it is nice to know you are not alone. Good luck. ()


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We got a call tonight the detox will take him in the am. Maybe all my "crying mom" calls finally worked. I heard him say "that would be my mother, yes" I talked to so many people today I lost track. It seemed so wrong that he wanted to go, and that he would have to wait. I hated the idea of him going out and not knowing what the next day/night would bring.

I know it's only the start of this next part of his journey but at least he as admitted he can't do it alone. He still thinks it's a quick fix and he will get back to life in no time. The truth is he has no life right now.

I am packing his bag and thinking back to packing his camp bag. I know I shouldn't be doing it for him.... I want to do it. Getting him clean clothes etc... is small. It's not doing the hard work he will have to do himself starting tomorrow. I know I need to do some healing and learning myself. I'm off until Thursday but could go back Wednesday...and even though he goes tomorrow I might take the extra day to rest... and reflect.


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Hi Colleen

I am thrilled for you that your son has been accepted for the detox program. Before I read your post I copied this (below) from the internet. For purposes of information only here is an article comparing inpatient supervised detox with medically supervised outpatient detox for opioid addicts.

Medically supervised outpatient detox does exist and it is no less safe than inpatient detox. I worked in prisons many years. The necessity to detox from drugs is a constant in reception centers and prisons. It is doable outside of a program. Sometimes there is no other option. Ideally there are physician specialists in addiction medicine. But any competent physician who is willing can supervise detox.

A medically supervised outpatient opiate detox, like the inpatient version, is supervised by a medical professional where medication is used over a determined period of time to move the client from a physical addiction to opiates through a taper of medication to an opiate-free life. This is done on an outpatient basis, where the client comes to see the doctor, is assessed and then a plan is determined to use medication to slowly get the client off their physical dependency to narcotics. The downside to an outpatient opiate detox is the client is not monitored 24/7 by staff. This constant monitoring does not make the detox any less safe, as it has been determined that an opiate detox easily can be medically done on an outpatient or ambulatory level of care.
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Crazy Cat Lady
Yes. Your son is absolutely right. Unsupervised withdrawal from Valium or any other of the benzos could indeed kill him. Benzos and alcohol are the two drugs where withdrawals can kill.

He does have to keep taking the benzo until he can get into detox and be tapered off and supported with other medications to prevent seizure and psychosis.

Also, depending on how long and how much Valium he was using, it could be months to years before he is his "old self", and he may nver come back 100%

It's good that it was Valium and not one of the shorter acting benzos such as Xanax, as Valium has a long half-life, which makes withdrawal a bit gentler.

Best of luck to him...and to you and his family. This is going to be a rough road.



Praying and celebrating your sons decisions. I have been what your going through. Though our son tried help on his own and overdosed waiting on a bed. He is so much better now.

Hope for your future families healing!


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I don't know if I will sleep at all tonight.

Thank you so much for responding.... I really do appreciate it. I feel so alone and overwhealmed.....